Antrim manager: choice of venue a ‘disgrace’
‘It’s a total disgrace. It probably won’t happen but I’d leave it there. I’m sick over it,’ says Ryan
Antrim manager Kevin Ryan. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/ Inpho
Furious Antrim manager Kevin Ryan believes the Saffrons should boycott the Bord Gáis Energy All-Ireland U21 hurling final against Clare on September 14th.
Ryan described the decision to fix the game for Semple Stadium as a “disgrace” and the Waterford native has called on GAA president Liam O’Neill to intervene.
Ryan, reappointed as Antrim senior manager last week for another season, says GAA chiefs missed a glorious games promotion opportunity by not staging the final at an Ulster venue.
‘I’m sick over it’
And he admitted that if he was an Antrim player, he would not travel to Thurles.
“I haven’t spoke to the board yet but my honest feeling is that we’re not playing. It’s a total disgrace. It probably won’t happen but I’d leave it there. I’m sick over it,” said Ryan.
“We had a meeting yesterday (Monday) and we were going to contact Croke Park abut the idea of holding the game at an Ulster venue.
“You look at the junior and intermediate club finals, camogie, ladies football – those finals are in Croke Park.
“And yet here we have the first Ulster team in an All-Ireland U21 hurling final and they bring it to Thurles.
“I know they’re trying to promote Thurles but the Clare lads will be over there and our lads won’t even be in Belfast.
“And then you have Clare involved in an All-Ireland senior final the week before, with 18 of their U21s involved. They’ll bring 10-15,000 fans to Thurles and they’ll be buzzing. We had a 1 in 50 chance of winning but that’s gone now.
“It won’t be the board’s position but I wouldn’t go down there . . . We have no chance going down there to play Clare. It was an opportunity for games development, to have it an Ulster venue like Breffni Park or something. It was the chance to have a couple of thousand Antrim people there.”